Tide Enlists Venus Williams to Serve Up Digital Campaign

Tide used a Super Bowl party in Miami on Friday afternoon to launch the digital components to its initial big campaign of 2010, which employs the tagline: “Style is an Option. Clean is Not.” Building on the :30 spots seen on television in recent weeks, a key aspect of the Procter & Gamble brand’s digital aspirations lies in an online contest featuring Venus Williams.

Viewers to Tide.com/Venus are being encouraged to virtually design a tennis outfit for her. After completing the shirt, skirt, and accessories ensemble, participants can enter the contest by supplying an e-mail address, home address, name, and phone number. They can access a gallery at the site to see what other participants have put together. The star athlete will help choose the $5,000 contest winner in April and then wear the outfit design while competing in the U.S. Open during late summer.

Site viewers can watch three interview videos where Williams – also known in the sports world for her fashion interests – talks about clothes and design. A new video will be added to the site each week, while Facebook and Twitter buttons allow visitors to share the clips.

Tide art.jpg Williams will also post about the Tide campaign on her Facebook and Twitter pages for the next 10 weeks, according to Suzanne Watson, associate marketing director, Tide North America. “We will do Facebook and Twitter updates through our Tide pages as well,” she said.

Display ads for the campaign – which was developed by the Boston-based interactive agency Digitas – will appear on CBS.com, Shape.com, Self.com, VideoEgg.com, Active.com, and InteractiveOne.com, among others. Two versions of display creative will be utilized. Watson said one centers on the Williams design element and the other “is primarily focused on what the product benefits are – that it’s a stain remover and eliminates odor.”

Additionally, she said, the Cincinnati, OH-based brand will make SEM buys specifically for the initiative. Tide will target keywords that deal with laundry issues, Watson suggested, while “linking into the challenges that consumers are having. A style/Venus standpoint will also factor into our SEM strategy.”

Meanwhile, for the Super Bowl party on Friday, Watson and her team created an on-site “studio” where participants were encouraged to get their pictures taken, log onto a computer, e-mail their photos, and post them on Facebook and Twitter. Her team also set up an approximately one-mile-long clothesline along Ocean Drive in South Beach as part of the promotional event.

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